School board introduces new Indigenous education initiatives

·2 min read

The Near North District School Board is taking a “multi-layered approach” to support Indigenous education that includes three new initiatives it plans to launch throughout the year.

A new specialist high skills major arts and culture program with an Indigenous studies focus will begin at Parry Sound High School in time for the new school year.

All grade 11 students will also take a course entitled NBE3—English: understanding contemporary First Nations, Metis, and Inuit voices as part of their curriculum.

The board is also working to create “an alternate secondary school program” that will be delivered in partnership with the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre. Details of this program are still in the works, but the board plans to release more information about this in the coming weeks.

See: School board’s annual report emphasizes inclusive culture

Deb Bartlett, the board’s communication officer, explained in a release that one of the board’s “key priorities is working towards equitable outcomes for Indigenous students.” How is this ensured? “By supporting Indigenous student well-being, transitions and pathways, parent and community engagement and by maximizing system and educator capacity.”

The board has an action plan for Indigenous education, which stresses student success for “Indigenous learners” while increasing “the knowledge, understanding, and awareness of Indigenous culture” through its classes.

Jay Aspin, who chairs the board, said the board is committed to ensuring Indigenous students “have every opportunity for success,” and the board’s action plan will foster “much needed systemic change.”

See: School board will open meeting with prayer

The board’s director of education, Craig Myles, noted the board is “committed to ensuring equitable outcomes for Indigenous students,” and plans to continue working “at all levels in support of Indigenous student well-being.”

Also, Bartlett explained that “the board has invested in cultural competency training for all staff” and has “contracted cultural advisors who support learning and increase the understanding of Anishinaabe history, culture, knowledge, teachings and perspectives.”

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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